Call for detention overhaul

• This year’s Palm Sunday Walk for Refugees. Photos by Daniel Njegich

A LOOMING federal election and echoes from Christchurch helped push up numbers at this year’s Palm Sunday Walk for Refugees in Perth.

More than 15 church and community groups took part this year, marching from St George’s Cathedral in the city.

This year’s marchers called for “a reform of the whole detention system,” said Uniting Church social justice consultant Jeff Brice.

“Offshore detention is problematic and inhumane,” Mr Brice said.

Currently there are 906 refugees still in offshore detention on Manus and Nauru according to the Refugee Council of Australia.

Fremantle councillor Sam Wainwright, who’s running in the federal election on the Socialist Alliance ticket, says the Morrison government’s anti-refugee policy is “rooted in racism”.

“It is based on the notion that ‘real refugees’ should go somewhere else,” Cr Wainwright said.

“The mistreatment of refugees remains a blight on Australian politics. (We can demonstrate that) a humane, just and legal policy is possible.”

Under current policy, asylum seekers coming to Australia by boat are subject to offshore processing on Nauru, unless their boat is turned back.

Despite the increase in numbers at this year’s march, some within the movement feel it’s not enough.

RRAN member Monty Hill de Monchaux said the walk was too gentle to generate change.

“The messaging could be stronger – more explicit about what’s wrong,” says Mr Hill de Monchaux, who favours an open borders policy.

by ASTRID DAINTON

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